A Chat With Funny Man Joel Murray

Back again by popular demand, the funny guys Ryan Stiles, Greg Proops, Joel Murray and Jeff B. Davis will be in Kitchener for a night of hilarious improvised comedy. We had a chat with Joel Murray to see what fuels his humour and what to expect on October 3.

Q: What was your childhood like being surrounded by so many funny siblings?

A: My father passed away when I was very young at the age of five. All of a sudden, I gained five fathers in my older brothers, who smacked me in the back of my head if I did anything wrong. We always had a dry Irish wit. Most of us got in to comedy because we had a lack of direction and we became actors because we were looking for directors to tell us what to do.

Q: What attracted you to improv?

A: I had a roommate in college named Dave Pasquesi, who’s famous in the Chicago area for running a show called “TJ & Dave” – he’s one of the best improvisers around. When we both got out of college, we got into a class with Del Close, who’s an improv guru who taught other comic greats like Akroyd and Belushi. It all just clicked and I knew this is where I want to be and do what I do and enjoy it.

Q: What’s been your favourite acting role?

A: It was fun to play Freddy Rumsen on Mad Men, a guy with a heart on a show that usually doesn’t have anyone with a heart.

I also did a movie called God Bless America where I got to play Frank, a guy who was just upset with the way things were in America and went on a killing spree. That was probably one of the most fun roles I did, and that movie was a blast to do.

Q: Where do you find your inspiration for your humour?

A: You find it everywhere. Sometimes you’re in situations you can’t control and you got to find the humour in it – it helps you deal with things in life. The guys I work with (Ryan, Greg, Jeff) are inherently funny guys. I travel on the road with them and we do laugh a lot.

Q: How did you land the Whose Live Anyway? gig?

A: I replaced Chip Esten shortly after he got the role on Nashville. I was an old friend of Ryan’s and I was lucky to be asked to do it. I can keep up with them, and I’m an easy going guy.

Q: What’s the weirdest thing you’ve had happen during an improv show?

A: We take a lot of audience participation in Whose Live Anyway?, unlike the show. We’ve had some people join us on stage where part way through the game needed a time out or someone who’s drunk and who looked nice when you ask them up, but then incoherently blabber.

Q: What can we expect at the show?

A: You’re going to see some games you recognise, and some stuff that blows you away. Jeff Davis is musically talented, and you’ll also get to see what a genius every one of us is in every situation thrown to us. You can also expect to maybe get up on stage. It’s interesting to see audience members get up on stage and do it and see that they really are improvising it.